The Stats Don't Lie

The closing tally on the BCLive league table for 2016 makes for pretty depressing reading with a 23 percent year-on-year fall in the value of contract awards and a December to forget. The Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards reports.

As the clock struck midnight on 31st December 2015, the BCLive league table rolling year total stood at an unprecedented £56.59 billion with Balfour Beatty stood atop the league with £3.17 billion of new contract awards in the year.

It was, perhaps, foolhardy to expect the industry to maintain that level. But as the world welcomed in the New Year of 2017, the story is very, very different. The rolling year total has fallen to £43.55 billion, a drop of 23 percent in just 12 months. At the same time, the number of contracts awarded during 2016 was down by 8.5 percent, a clear indication that the industry is working harder for less. And while that decline has been 12 months in the making, the past two months have been particularly notable. Indeed, December 2016 total of just £2.63 billion marks it as the worst December in BCLive history in terms of both the number of contracts awarded AND their value; it also makes it the worst month of 2016 by a significant margin.

While the rest of the world will remember 2016 as the year of Brexit, the US presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House or an exceptionally high number of celebrity deaths, the UK construction industry will remember 2016 as the year in which the upward trajectory out of recession plateaued and headed back in the wrong direction. The fact that the BCLive league table for 2016 was topped by a company (Laing O’Rourke) which was reporting its first loss in 15 years.

Amidst this year end doom and gloom, the team at Dragados UK should have plenty to smile about having topped the BCLive league table for the first time ever in December 2016. The company swept to the top of the year end leader board courtesy of a single contract valued at £350 million for the construction of an extension to Nigg Bay Harbour for the Aberdeen Harbour Board.

Second place went to Laing O’Rourke with a monthly total of just £150 million thanks to a single contract for a new build at the University of Manchester. Education also helped propel Kier Group to third place on the table, the company winning a £135 million refurbishment and repair contract at the University of Cardiff. Graham Construction took fourth slot thanks to a £134 million new build framework contract with Health Facilities Scotland.

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